In places like Norway, humane prisons have become known to the world, which sparked a new ethics question. Should prisoners be treated humanely in prisons after their crimes? Many have argued against the use of humane prisons, feeling that the inmates have to understand the consequences of their transgressions, while others believe that this will give them time to think about what they have done and ease their way back to society.
One main difference between the Norway prisons and prisons in the United States is the structure and interior of the prisons. The Norway prisons do not have any bars on their windows and are located in areas that are not largely populated, with nature surrounding them. The inside of these prisons is created somewhat like motels, with a kitchen, workplace, and more. Guard rooms are smaller than the inmate lounge areas, giving them more time to interact with the prisoners. According to the Times website, the architects focus on each art piece and paintings in order to capture peaceful emotions. This was incorporated in order for the prisoners to feel more at peace and less angered.
Norway prisons have organized activities from 8 AM to 8 PM which benefits them because it was a proven study by the organizers of the prisons that occupied inmates are less likely to lash out on the guards as well as others. As well as these activities, the paint on the walls is even thought out. There are different shades of color to bring different moods to the inmates and many staff members recall the inmates as “pupils” when they are learning to give them a sense of humanity.
The controversy around these prisons, however, is that some people do not believe that these criminals should have these rights. Some believe that like the homeless or others that are not well off, crimes will increase just for the sake of receiving food and shelter commenting that “[humane prisons] are just like a hotel and will encourage crime.” Others though, believe that humane prisons will help prisoners go back to their normal lives and become a better person. There is a common fight going on between these two ideas and beliefs, but it is important to remember both the benefits and the negative aspects of this idea.
Every viewpoint of these humane prisons is for the benefit of the inmates since they believe that prisons should help smoothly transition the prisoners from going to prison to the real world.
Esther Jung, Grade 11
Grover Cleveland High School